Self-love is a trend and an important one. In particular, it should be a priority for us black women, who often get caught in trying to take care of everyone else's needs at our own expense. However, if I'm being honest, I often doubt whether this well-meaning fad is being executed properly by the general population. While settling onto the couch with a bottle of Rosé and splurging on instagram-worthy reading socks are certainly fun ways to spend our time, are they really the most effective ways to love ourselves? Truthfully, learning to love yourself is a very daunting task and way big of a task to achieve by buying bath bombs and advocado juice.
The fact is that many of us are self-soothing by splurging and calling it "self-love", in an effort to hide a very sad fact: we don't even like ourselves. So today, instead of giving you some vague ideas about how to enter into this undefined and often unattainable realm of self-love, I'm going to give you some very simple practical tips to teach you how to learn to yourself.
you kind of have to like yourself first in order to get to that next step of falling head over heels in love with yourself.
1. Learn Who You Are
Everybody and their next door neighbour are buying detox tea and Hulu subscriptions in an effort to "pamper" themselves. Our society has come to understand how important it is to learn to love ourselves, but we just need a little help on understanding how to do it. You see, you can buy all the self-help books in the world and still not know how to practice self-love. Why? Because unless you know yourself inside and out and unless you learn how to become your own best friend, your efforts will have been in vain.
You simply can't love yourself until you actually know yourself. Thus, if you want to start to learn how to like yourself, make an effort to learn who you are, discover your likes and dislikes and to adopt an attitude of non-judgement towards the things that you find out about yourself.
Going out on regular solo dates and wining-and-dining yourself often are great ways to spend time with yourself, prioritize your happiness and allow for self-reflecting. Another great way to discover yourself is to regularly journal. You can simply use a real, store-bought journal or just open upthe "Notes" app on your phone, the only important aspect is that you're making time to self-reflect regularly. Journalling will help you discover the helpful or harmful ways you react to circumstances you encounter, and help you define the people who are making positive contributions to your life. It's a great way to see the emotional and mental progress you're making in your life, by allowing you to see where your mind is now, versus what your world and thought process looked like a year (or ten years) ago.
2. Learn Why Other People Like You (And Don't Allow Yourself To Forget It)
Last week, I met up with a bunch of friends and asked them to name four things they liked about themselves and four things they liked about each other. By the end of the night, we were all in tears. Sadly, it can be so difficult to list good qualities about yourselves, yet hearing your positive characteristics and traits reflected back to you by the people you love is a humbling reality check. Who are you not to like yourself?
I was surprised to find out how much my friends respected my opinions and how often they thought about me when I wasn't around. Although I knew my friends loved me, I wasn't sure that they kept me around for more than a good time. After hearing how deeply they cared about my wellbeing and how much weight they often gave to my opinions, I realized that I was a deeply invaluable component of our friendship. They weren't just spending time with me because I could make them life, but because I added to their lives in numerous ways. I was, in some ways, a positive impact/influence in their every day lives.
When you take time to discover the invaluable qualities that you bring to your immediate circle, you'll be able to develop a little more appreciation for yourself and the unique way you contribute to this world. During moments of hardship and difficulty, you'll be able to repeat the positive attributes you have to yourself and add some much needed self-like to your day.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.